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First there was the event of the earthquake in Haiti and the World reacted. The Search and Rescue Stage started, by hand debris was removed from the rubble and wonderfully some 130 to 140 persons recovered. Today we learned that the Haitian Government considers the Search and Rescue Stage over. Now the Recovery Stage begins and it is considered acceptable to bring in and use heavy equipment to remove the debris. Of course there will still be Search and Rescue but the possibility of finding persons still alive is there but rather unlikely - realite.

While all this was going on up on the northern coast of Haiti cruise ships still called at Labadee. This NAUTICAL LOG considers an appalling affront to humanity in general and the People of Haiti in particular. The cruise line involved knows full well the sequence of events that would occur. It would have been quite easy to explain to their passengers that for the month of January, at least, the call at Labadee, Haiti would not be made out of respect for the Haitian People - sincerite.

The cruise line today made a PR show in the national media of how they are bringing in supplies each voyage and contributing to the Relief funding by donation and nett monies earned at Labadee. However they know quite well that supplies landed at Labadee will never be shipped to Port-au-Prince. They will end up being sold at inflated prices in the street markets of Cap Haitian - as to the monies who really knows. Unless it goes directly to the principal and well established Organizations that are always there for the Haitian people, long before this earthquake, most likely into the pockets and accounts of the Haitian 'elite' as has always been the sad tradition of Haiti.

Some 40 years ago when cruise ships first made Haiti a call port we docked in Cap Haitian. After their day ashore visiting the Citadel high in the mountains above the town most passengers returned aboard in shock. They had never seen people living in such conditions of poverty or brutal control. At that time of course the President for Life was Francois Duvalier known as 'Papa Doc' he ruled through his personal militia. Their formal name was Milice de Volontaires de la Secuite Nationale (MVSN) but were better know as 'Tonton Macoute'. In French 'tonton' is an affectionate name for ones uncle but there was no affection in Haiti just unbridled fear. In Kreyol 'tonton macoute' translates into 'uncle gunnysack' and the story told children is that if they do not go to bed in time they will be taken away in that gunnysack never to be seen again. In those days it was all too true as nightly the MVSN came and took away men, women, and children whom were never heard from or seen again. It was in this deplorable atmosphere that certain cruise lines acquired land in Haiti and created a 'cruise ship resort' so that their passengers could visit Haiti without having to actually experience the life and conditions of the Haitian People. Thus Labadee came into being, a resort totally closed to the Haitian People except for those chosen by the Haitian 'elite' to work there.

NAUTICAL LOG hopes that the passengers or as the cruise lines like to call them these days 'guests' find out some of these facts. The cruise line concerned may currently operate the worlds largest cruise ship but they are small as persons who have displayed little regard for the People of Haiti - verite.

Yet with all that misery, fear and brutality there was a degree of organization and due to the MVSN checkpoints and travel restrictions Port-au-Prince was less built up and far less populated. Bad as it was under 'Papa Doc' Haiti was far worse off thereafter until its latest President came to power. Lately there was a slight improvement, a slim possibility, which has now been totally and completely destroyed.

There is a respect for humanity that business must practice in its affairs, show a willingness to put people before business when occasion requires, be less self-centered and move forward together -
marchons unis.

Good Watch.


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